Everton travel to the Molineux to take on Wolves as Rafael Benitez aims to bag three points after back-to-back defeats in the Premier League.
Wolves are finally showing some progress under new manager Bruno Lage after a difficult opening five matches, during which they managed just a solitary win. They have turned their form around, picking up ten points from the previous four games.
After consecutive victories over Southampton, Newcastle United and Aston Villa, the Midlands side’s winning run got halted by Leeds United in the previous matchday, as Rodrigo scored a second-half injury-time penalty to hold them to a draw. Lage will be keen on keeping their unbeaten streak going, as he targets a positive result against Everton.
Wolves also have to set the record straight over their recent Premier League record against Everton, winning just the one home game against the Merseysiders. A win could allow Lage’s men to get level on points with Manchester United and Arsenal on 17, moving them up significantly on the table.
Meanwhile, Everton have seen their their impressive start to the season get binned with some very disappointing results in recent matches. After a narrow loss at home to West Ham United, the Toffees succumbed to a heavy defeat at Goodison Park to Watford, who surprised them with a late charge to score four goals in 10 minutes.
Rafael Benitez will be wary of losing again, as it may probably turn the Everton fanbase against him. Another problem would be the next two fixtures, with the Merseysiders facing Tottenham and Manchester City on either side of the international break.
Everton desperately need a positive result from this clash to add relevance to their campaign after a mixed-bag of displays in the first nine games. While the Toffees have an extremely favourable recent record against Wolves, they are currently way off form compared to Lage’s side, making this an interesting clash at Molineux.
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— Wolves (@Wolves) October 31, 2021
Wolves boss Lage will again be without the services of Jonny, Pedro Neto, Yerson Mosquera and Hugo Bueno for the Everton clash. The team have had a good run of games even without those injured stars, although their return will boost the squad in the near future.
Willy Boly, another player who was tipped as doubtful for the clash due to illness, could be in the matchday squad, as revealed by Lage. However, Max Kilman could take his place in the backline. Wolves are likely to keep the shape and hold the fort with a back-three.
Marcal, who has been impressive recently, is also counted as doubtful for the contest. However, he could still feature in the lineup at left wing-back, if he is passed fit in time. If not, Rayan Ait-Nouri is an option. Meanwhile, Trincao is also available again after being sidelined with Covid-19. Daniel Podence is also an option if needed, after proving his fitness in recent weeks.
The biggest boost will be the return of Ruben Neves to the lineup, as he is set to form the midfield pivot with Joao Moutinho. Lage will keep hold of the front three of Hwang Hee-chan, Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore on the attacking front.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Jose Sa; Kilman, Coady, Saiss; Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Marcal; Traore, Jimenez, Hee-Chan
Benitez still has plenty of starters missing from the action, with Abdoulaye Doucoure one of the most important players among the lot. The Toffees badly missed the midfielder as Watford ran riot at Goodison Park. Dominic Calvert-Lewin had an injury setback, which will push his return by a further few weeks.
Benitez might have done better if he had those injured stars available. The Spaniard will certainly be happy with the return of Richarlison last week, as the Brazilian will be among those starting.
Full focus on getting back on track.#WOLEVE 🔵
— Everton (@Everton) October 30, 2021
Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes are the other absentees. Fabian Delph is also back in training and could be in contention for a start in midfield alongside Allan against Wolves.
Anthony Gordon and Andros Townsend could be selected as the two starting wingers by Benitez, meaning Iwobi might find himself in a substitute role. Despite Delph’s potential availability, the manager might retain Tom Davies, who was among the scorers against Watford in midfield.
Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Pickford; Holgate, Godfrey, Keane, Digne; Townsend, Davies, Allan, Gordon; Gray; Rocharlison
- Richarlison has scored five goals in as many starts against Wolves.
- Everton have won three of their last four Premier League games against Wolves.
- Wolves have only one victory in their last six home games against Everton.
- The last three games at Molineux against Everton have seen 2.5 goals.
- Raul Jimenez has scored in all his four appearances against Everton.
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Injuries to key attacking players always tend to hurt teams in the worst way possible. Benitez has come to experience something similar after watching his team struggle in recent weeks due to the absence of Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison. Now that the Brazilian is back in action, he has the opportunity to set things straight.
He is likely to start against Wolves, and his record against the Midlands side is formidable. The Brazilian will have to hit the ground running to help Everton out of their current slump.
Wolves 2-2 Everton
On current form, Wolves might be well placed to nick three points against Everton. However, this fixture produces a decent number of goals, which could be the case on Monday. Moreover, Richarlison and Jimenez have impressive records in the fixtures, and will have crucial roles to play.
We are expecting the game to end in an entertaining 2-2 draw. Everton are certainly in bad shape, although their goalscoring numbers have been impressive this season. On the other hand, Wolves are progressing every week, and a positive result might help their cause. However, a good look at both teams points towards sharing of points.